All about the American Wild West…
If you are old enough, you might recall that many of the movies coming out of Hollywood used to be westerns back in the days before cable television and special effects. Western movies may not have the same appeal today as they once did, but there are still a few more recent ones out there. What children didn’t play cowboys and Indians back then? We still have a fascination with the stories of how the west was won, and about notable characters such as Butch Cassidy, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill. The following ten websites are about this time in American history that seems larger than life. The sites are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,727
Thankfully PBS is around to continue to provide us with informative documentaries even if the subject matter isn’t as popular with the rest of the television and movie making industry. This collection features documentaries about some of the most controversial and mythic figures in American western history. Many of the films in this collection can be watched online, while others you can watch a preview and then order the DVD. The site also includes a video gallery, timeline, images and articles.
Global Alexa Rating: 5,398
This is a list of ten very interesting stories about the old west that just might seem stranger than fiction. Some of the facts are quite interesting and others even debunk what we might think we know about things that happened at the time. If you are a history buff about other things to do with the world, this website could hold your attention for quite a while. An interesting feature of this website is the This Day in History feature which is updated each day and you can read back posts as well.
Global Alexa Rating: 62,242
This site includes lots of information about American history, not just about the Old West, although this section is amazing. There are plenty of topics included including cowboys, trailblazers, range wars, ghost towns, ghost stories, lawmen, gunfights, legends and much more. One of the unique features is a section of vintage photographs of the old west with hundreds that can be ordered in prints or downloaded for commercial use. Be sure to watch the Old West slideshow.
Global Alexa Rating: 86,727
This is the site for Wild West Magazine which tells the true history of the people, places and events that led to the taming of the Great American frontier. The site also includes an online extra – a discussion on a topic of interest. At the time of this review, the current discussion is “What do you consider the best and worst ways one could have died on the Western frontier?” The articles on the site are equally thought provoking.
Global Alexa Rating: 157,625
On this page of the main site you will find links to a number of articles during the period of the Old West. Read about such things as the Alamo, pony express riders, the death of Billy the Kid, Custer’s Last Stand, the Massacre at Wounded Knee, crossing the plains in a wagon train, the California gold rush and the tragic fate of the Donner party. The main site includes all the other types of history as well, including the Ancient World, Middle Ages, 20th Century, 18th Century, World War I and II and the Civil War. Be sure to check out History in Motion which has film clips from the past.
Global Alexa Rating: 845,278
True West Magazine is a favorite of Wild West enthusiasts and history buffs. They strive to capture the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. It is the world’s oldest, continually published Western Americana magazine. There are articles, videos and photos galore. Be sure to check out all the categories including true westerners, living the dream, history and travel.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,839,849
This site is devoted to the site owner’s grandfather, William Keith of the Cherokee Nation, born in Caddo, OK. It takes a different approach than some other sites about the Wild West in that it gives as much time to the discussion of Native Americans as it does cowboys. The Native Americans section includes information on legends, religion, art, places, wisdom and recipes. The cowboy section includes information on outlaws, lawmen, women, facts, trail recipes, songs and poems. The site also includes games and 48 jigsaw puzzles.
Global Alexa Rating: 4,481,316
This is a very unique site in that they publish a monthly newspaper that is composed of actual articles from 1800’s newspapers. They also air a daily and weekly radio show. Dakota Livesay also provides newspapers with a weekly syndicated newspaper column free of charge. Another free offering is his weekly e-newsletter which includes a story about an event that happened in the current week in the Old West.
Global Alexa Rating: 10,680,295
The WWHA is dedicated to providing publications and forums for the enlightenment and enjoyment of its members. Most of the goodies on the site can be found in the resources section. Become a member and you will receive their journals published bimonthly and an annual newsletter. You can also attend their 4-day RoundUp held each summer.
Global Alexa Rating: 13,455,785
This is a blog site operated by Darla Sue Dollman in which she writes about travels through the American Southwest exploring the history, legends and tall tales. The site includes blogs going back to 2009. The blogs are well written and there are some very nice photographs and other graphics on the site as well. Her most popular posts are showcased on the right side of the page.
With the wide variety of blogs, articles and websites devoted to this unique time in American history, you will reach a better understanding of how the west was won – the good, the bad and the ugly as well. While it may be tempting to romanticize this period of time, the truth is it was a very rough time and there were some very brave – and yet some very nasty – characters running about. Times were certainly different than they are now in many ways, and these sites hopefully enabled you to see what can be learned from our history.